High-tech combat specialist 4GD partners with Parrot’s ANAFI USA drones


Tech-savvy immersive close-combat specialist 4GD has struck a partnership with leading European drone manufacturer Parrot to integrate ANAFI USA drones into its synthetic training courses, allowing participating pilots to fly missions in exactly replicated battle situations.

Operated by former members of the UK’s Royal Marines and Airborne Forces, 4GD provides close-combat immersive training that pays particular attention to the swiftly evolving technologies that have become an integral part of modern warfare on all levels. The company believes those innovations have created greater complexity on battlefields, but also offer distinct and decisive advantages when used deftly. Their instruction sessions are therefore made up of both actual and virtual reality experiences that enhance training effectiveness, and prepare participants to fully exploit tech assets at their disposal. In being added to that, 4GD says Parrot’s ANAFI USA drone will diversify and enrich 4GD’s mix of platforms that – whether individually or together – seek to give trainees an all-important upper hand.

In making the announcement, Parrot noted its ANAFI USA provides 4GD and other users an easily portable and secure drone conceived to meet the specific needs of defense and security operators. The craft boasts what Parrot calls the sector’s first 32x zoom, 4K HDR video, and a FLIR Boson thermal camera ideal for intelligence, combat and mobility support for either day or night missions.

That array of hardware enables the craft to capture footage from up to 3.1 miles away, and identify human presence at distances of over a mile – even as the drone itself remains undetectable at 142 yards or more off. Weighing in at 515 grams with a top flight time of 32 minutes, the foldable ANAFI USA offers specialist users a powerful, rapidly deployed aerial asset that can be launched with one hand.

Initially, Parrot will integrate ANAFI software into 4GD’s synthetic environment to provide simulated flight conditions for trainees using a 3D model producing an exact imitation of ANAFI USA behavior and capacities in flight. That will allow pilots to practice for missions without needing open, unrestricted airspace to do so (while also sparing real drones damage from potential brick mitts on the sticks as trainees develop their skills).

During a second phase of their partnership, ANAFI USA will be operated within 4GD’s SmartFacility urban training environment, permitting pilots to train for close combat operations involving unmanned sensor feed elements.

“We are delighted to partner with Parrot and explore ways to conduct drone training in 4GD’s synthetic environment,” says James Crowley, 4GD business development director. “Through this collaboration we aim to give end-users the ability to practice, test and develop UAS flying techniques and tactics in a 3D virtual world without the risk of damaging a drone. Through this strategic partnership, we will also explore exciting possibilities for future integration into our 4GD SmartFacility.”

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